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What Birds To Expect This Month PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Nov 01, 2017 at 03:00 AM


                                                        *  N O V E M B E R  *   

(Photo credits and descriptions of photos can be seen by "mousing over" each photo. )


Everyone’s favourite bird at the bird feeder, the American Tree Sparrow, will start building in numbers. Photo by Dave Bell of BellevilleThis month overall is one in which many birders lose interest. The bulk of the migration is over and for bird listers, it is too early to be thinking of starting a winter bird list - an exercise that officially commences on December 1st.


However, November can produce some interesting stuff. In many ways November is like March. Some of the earliest birds to arrive in the spring, are also the latest to depart in the fall. The reason for this similarity is that both months furnish birds with essentially the same kind of food. Therefore, the loons, grebes, ducks, geese and kingfisher that arrive early in the year once the local waters are free of ice, will also remain into November until ice formation deprives them of food, sending them on their way to more profitable feeding areas. We may see AMERICAN WOODCOCK and COMMON SNIPE too hanging around until heavy frost prevents them from probing the earth.


Likewise, many species of sparrows will remain until weeds are stripped bare of their seeds, or winter snows begin to cover them up. Few birds will be heard singing, although some may make weak attempts at exercising their vocal chords if the weather is sunny and warm. The denizens of winter bird feeders, the AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS (photo above, right) started showing up in ones and twos during the last week of October, and will be building in numbers at our feeders as the days go on. They will take the place of those sparrow species that head farther south.


Don’t be surprised if you see a yellow-rumped warbler or two hanging around in November, as they are very flexible in their food requirements. Photo by Ian Dickinson of BellevilleThe YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS (still Myrtle Warblers to many of us) also hang around until quite late, flitting around windowsills and low shrubs after spiders and the few remaining insects lured out by sunshiny days. Unlike most warblers that retreat to southern climes due to their insectivorous diet, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS will alter their diet to include seeds and fruits. Hence, we may see small numbers of them seeking shelter in fields of red cedar where they will search for the fruiting berries of these trees.


For the most part, all shorebirds will have departed from our beaches and mud flats where these birds fed over last month. One exception is the PURPLE SANDPIPER which is traditionally looked for when November rains and flurries are falling. Unlike other shorebirds that prefer sandy and muddy locations, PURPLE SANDPIPERS prefer rocky shorelines. Areas such as West Point, Point Petre and Prince Edward Point are monitored each November for the arrival of these birds. Places like Presqu’ile Park may still produce lingering DUNLINS, SANDERLINGS, PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, both BLACK-BELLIED and AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS and, of course, lingering KILLDEER.


Long-tailed Ducks (formerly Oldsquaw) are common sights this month. Note the individual surfacing beside this one.  Photo by Gilles BissonWintering ducks such as COMMON GOLDENEYE, BUFFLEHEAD, LONG-TAILED DUCKS (Oldsquaw), RING-NECKED DUCKS and both GREATER and LESSER SCAUPS will continue to build up in numbers. Birders will often find good numbers of these and others at some of the more traditionally productive observation points such as West Point, Prince Edward Point, Point Pere, Salmon Point, South Bay, Smith’s Bay and Prince Edward Point.


A look at the cone and seed crop across Ontario this past summer offered a glimpse into what may be occurring in Prince Edward County this winter. Well known birder Ron Pittaway annually makes predictions, based on his research of the seed crops developing on trees and shrubs in the area. Some very interesting stuff there, and we hope it provides readers with a little insight as to what may be around at our feeders, and in the field this coming winter. Cone crops in the Northeast the best in a decade or more. This will be a banner winter to see boreal finches in central and northeastern Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, northern New York, and northern New England States. WHITE-WINGED and RED CROSSBILLS and PINE SISKINS have moved east to areas of abundant seed crops. The Big Question is: will finches concentrate in areas of highest cone abundance (more likely) or be spread out across the Northeast? This is not an irruption year south of traditional wintering areas in the Northeast, so I guess it will be wait and see if any of this finch movement will translate to appearances at our winter feeders. Good birding. It will be time for the winter list all too soon!    

For a summary of Ron’s Winter Finch Forecast, CLICK HERE.
Don’t forget - we do enjoy hearing about your sightings. Everything that comes in is entered on the computer. This information is valuable in getting a better feel for the habits of those birds that choose to migrate through, or nest in, Prince Edward County.
To get a more detailed look at what birds are around, be sure to check the Friday night weekly QUINTE AREA BIRD REPORT. The Report includes sightings from not only the general Bay of Quinte area, but also from as far east as the Odessa area, and west to beyond Cobourg and north to at least Highway 7. Always a good read every week with one or two new photos posted with each new Report.
You can e-mail me with your sightings right from this LINK.

(Photo credits and descriptions of photos can be seen by "mousing over" each photo. )


Last Updated ( Oct 31, 2017 at 11:00 PM )
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November 22, 2017 5:18 pm